Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Greatest TV Series Ever

by Neil Chhabda

(source: Wiki Commons)
I recently completed Breaking Bad, one of the most critically acclaimed television series in history. Indeed, it is as highly commended as The Sopranos and The Wire, ground-breaking  shows which have been immortalised because of their undoubted brilliance. I, too, immensely enjoyed Breaking Bad; it is magnificently written, extraordinarily captivating, and likely more addictive than some of the products its protagonist is responsible for. Surprisingly, however, it is not the finest television series I have viewed this year. That title goes to Smallville, which might be the greatest television series ever made. For those of you who don’t know, this spectacular TV series tells the story of a young Clark Kent, or (as he is better known) Superman. The show starts off as a delightfully charming teen drama, but develops into so much more. For me, Smallville is incontrovertibly the best TV series ever.

Firstly, the acting in the show is absolutely outstanding. The characters are fantastically portrayed, and brilliantly written. The transformation of Lex Luthor, from Clark’s best friend, to his description of himself as “the villain of the story,” is superbly performed by Michael Rosenbaum. Furthermore, Lionel Luthor, Lex’s father, is also splendidly illustrated as a ruthless, sociopathic billionaire who shows very little care for his own son. However, what sets Smallville apart from other TV series, is that the major characters are extremely easy to connect with. Clark Kent is an archetypal teenager, dealing with puberty, his first love and the choices he has to make about his future, as he nears graduation from high school. His position is one in which millions of teenage boys find themselves, and are likely see some reflections of themselves in the character of Clark. Moreover, Jonathan and Martha Kent are beautifully depicted as warm, loving parents. John is portrayed as a firm but fair, loving father, helping Clark to control his powers, and nurturing his son into a humble, hardworking man. Martha is the softer parent, unconditionally loving Clark, and guiding him through relationship troubles. I’m sure John and Martha reflect some elements of not only my parents, but of those of others. This effortless, emotional bond which can be formed with the characters in the show is what makes Smallville a truly great show.
Furthermore, the show always keeps things fresh, and is full of some jaw-dropping twists, even from the very beginning. One of the most unanticipated elements of the show is how the friendship between Clark and Lex initially blossoms, with Lex going so far as to say “Our friendship will be the stuff of legends,” before ultimately transforming into the man we all know him to be. Furthermore, the show develops from  simple, episode-long story arcs to into much more complex sagas, which feel like emotional roller coasters, filled with immeasurable sadness, exhilarating action and everything in between. Additionally, as Clark matures, and grows out of Smallville (his hometown), the series shifts to the big city, ‘Metropolis’, and takes on a much darker tone. Multifaceted, chilling villains such as Braniac, Doomsday, General Zod, and, of course, Lex Luthor are introduced. It is with these villains that the show evolves into a pleasingly elaborate production, with some truly riveting moments.

Moreover the show is well written, with some excellent lines. Instead of going on and on about their magnificence, I’ll just give some examples. Yes most of them are Lex Luthor’s lines, but that’s a testament to the power of his character.

Bart (The Flash): I want a lawyer.

Lex: And I want a ponytail. Disappointments abound.


Clark Kent: You know, it's funny to think that they used to be best friends, and now they're worst enemies . . . do you think our friendship would ever turn out like that?

Lex: Trust me Clark, our friendship is going to be the stuff of legend.


Lex: When Alexander the Great was dying, his generals asked who he would leave his empire to. If he would appoint a successor, it would keep the legacy intact . . . prevent generations of bloodshed. His answer was simple, “I leave it to the strongest." I believe the term was "Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war."

Lex: What killed me is you didn't even want it. You fought it, you hid from it. I would have taken it and relished it and embraced it.

Clark: My destiny wasn't yours to take!

Lex: I get that now which is why I've finally embraced my own. You and I, we will both be great men because of each other. We have a destiny together Clark, only on different sides.

Lex: If you look at history, the great men and women of the world have always been defined by their enemies.


Lionel Luthor: You know, it's becoming clear to me why you're so secretive. You understand that true power . . .  is better left concealed.


Zod: I wanted you to join me on this New Earth. But now I must bury you beneath it.


Conclusively, Smallville is possibly the greatest TV series ever produced. It is almost flawless, and enjoyably evolves from a delightful teen drama, into an exceedingly dark, and intricate production. The characters are portrayed so well, that it is extremely easy to connect with them, and to see their evolutions as people, as human beings, is incredibly satisfying. The emergence of new characters  and the introduction of some terrifying villains keep the show fresh, and ensure that it is never monotonous. All you have to do is watch the first episode, and then it becomes clear why Smallville lasted 10 seasons, and became the longest running comic book-based series in television history.

See also Alex Quarrie-Jones' article, Which TV Show Reigns Supreme?


  1. So you've picked a terrible teen drama that ruined the mythology of Superman over Breaking Bad, a show which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest rated television program in history. This is a joke, right?

    Tim Bustin

    1. Tim, first of all, I introduced you to Breaking Bad. Secondly, have you even seen an episode of Smallville.

      Neil Eden Chhabda

    2. Yes, I have - you forced me to watch one during tutor time.

      It was sh**.

      Timothy Ryall Bustin


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